If you would be a real seeker after truth, it is necessary that at least once in your life you doubt, as far as possible, all things. ~Rene Descartes

Critical thinking does not come naturally to all men in their turn. To engage with the world at face value alone seems de rigueur, if not in any way sufficient to the purpose of genuine understanding.

To look past the cursory in pursuit of a more authentic engagement with truth requires curiosity, imagination, and courage. How much easier – and more comforting – it is to cling to the simple illusory version of the possible, rather than challenging every assumption presented, each truism enacted, every limitation extolled.

The function of doubt in its ideal form is progressive; to approach with a mind open to possibility at purest. No single explanation is either accepted by default or dismissed out of hand. All considerations are weighed for merit, turned on their head, spun around on their axis. The mettle of an idea tempered and tested in the crucible of a mind truly alight.

Yet how insidious the adulteration of doubt when it creeps into the interstices and undermines that which we have already toiled to make settled precedent. As worthy a task as it is to question everything, to do so endlessly without the comfort of any decided truth is to run ragged the very means by which we hope to identify what truth can be; that way lies madness.



I’ve always had a rather combative relationship with sleep.

For most of my life, I simply couldn’t. The combination of a neurological condition causing the underproduction of the hormone that paralyzes the body for sleep and an extremely disruptive domestic scene made sleep elusive and occasionally unsafe.

I rarely dreamed, since I was nearly incapable of getting deeply asleep enough to enter REM. When I did, my dreams were often bizarre and vivid, though I was always readily able to identify they were not my waking reality. I found them amusing; never troubling.

When I was diagnosed and treated for my condition, one of the first things I experienced was a full night’s rest. It was a revelation. Seeing the world through eyes that hadn’t spend half the night pointed at the ceiling was stunning, and literally changed my life. I was not so profoundly restless, thought processes were less convoluted, coping mechanisms more effective.

And then the dreams began.

The medication I take makes me sleep. I don’t just mean it allows me to sleep, I mean it makes clinging to wakefulness impossible. It sends me down into an abyss I have never before known. And while I linger there, I dream.

From rarely doing so at all that I remember, I now dream virtually every night. They are compelling, all encompassing, and occasionally exhausting. I often find myself confronted with the mundane cast in absurd proportions, or visiting scenes from the past that have long since faded in my conscious memory – only to become vivid enough to cling to me all through my daytime hours.

Then, for long months now, there are nights where I am engulfed. Swept over by fear, vulnerability, and despair. I am slow-moving and subject to unspeakable cruelty; unable to rise to my own defense. Replaying moments of heartbreak, helplessness, and hurt in such powerful terms that I awaken as though these deeds were fresh; unhealed anew.

It is enough to make me wonder if the solace I had found in sleep might not be a fickle thing; not meant for me, after all. How, perhaps it would be better to go back to the sharp and weary way of staring at the shadows as they play on the wall overhead.


Probably my new favorite photo of me.


I really miss my hair.


I like to consider myself a critical thinker with an open mind. I like to approach new ideas with curiosity and gusto; to welcome new information without it threatening my worldview in a personally distressing way.

And so, this morning, when I was sent a link to this article to read – by someone who believed he was being flirtatious ­– I decided to take a look despite raising an eyebrow at both the language and inherent assumptions conveyed in the title.

The Under F**ked Pussy Epidemic (Every Woman Needs To Read This!!)

As a sex-positive person, I like to think that ideally, everyone will get what they came for. As a realist, I understand there are lots of social, cultural, and personal barriers to that happening on a regular basis for many people. The fact that the article seemed – at least at first blush – to be trying to remedy this, I wanted to see what insight the author brought to bear.*

 However, I wasn’t even able to get past the title before being confronted with the author’s deliberately provocative use of both “pussy” and “fu**ed” Presuming a mature audience, I question both her use of the colloquial term for vagina, and her unwillingness to spell out the word “fuck.” Couched together in this way it seemed geared specifically to be titillating and shocking. I supposed I wasn’t aware that “soft-core self help” was a genre? Choosing to do so was simultaneously intellectually offensive and personally off-putting. Even moreso was the author’s exhortation “every woman needs to read this!!!” As though, naturally, all women are having the same problems expressing themselves or being satisfied sexually. Despite this, I forged ahead looking for something that might offer a new or meaningful insight in the author’s canon.

Alas, it was not to be. Apart from the style of writing which strayed from the tone of “You Go Girl” fauxminism, to a condescending “Why Can’t Women Just Learn To Speak Their Mind” lament, I was pointedly offended by the unwaveringly heterocentric tone of the piece.

That unspeakable being that she needs to be f-ked wide open by a man that can penetrate not only her flesh but her heart and soul. She needs his strength, his firmness, his masculine energy to be unleashed in her at a cellular level and TAKE her beyond the point of no return and right into the heavens of rapture. Only at this level can she trust her man and allow herself once again to be seen.

So, lesbians aren’t allowed to have gratifying orgasms? How are they supposed to access that “strength” and “firmness?” Is this something they can do with latex? How are the lesbians going to trust and be seen???

Moving along, we are then scolded that we must, “Ask for what you sexually want and need” as though, that’s really all there is to it. Like, “Listen, honey, if you could just open your mouth and articulate exactly what you want instead of being a verbally frigid ninny then the most life-changing, depression-healing, relationship cementing orgasms WILL BE YOURS!”  

Given the puritanical, patriarchal, sex-averse culture in which we are embedded, that should be super simple; if you weren’t such an uptight twat.

But let us not forget the men, and their all important – indeed inextricable – duty in this exchange. She quotes:

Keep asking until you feel her true desire release. You will feel it in your body when she finally lets go. Regardless of how much resistance she has, don’t stop asking until you feel it. You are helping her unravel a lifetime of conditioning – old beliefs and habits and rules that are suffocating the bright, lovely, sexy woman within.

Ask until she says yes! Ignore her resistance! You are healing her from all that pesky personal preference and autonomy she’s been told she gets to have her whole life! Nevermind what she says Pish tosh! No means ask until she changes her answer! Such an elegant invitation to sexual assault, I have never heard.

I am offended at the pseudo-psychological, pop-trash, woman shaming tone of this piece. I am offended that this is being proffered as an earnest exhortation to sexual liberation.  I am offended that our current cultural paradigm promotes this kind of thinking all the time.

I’m all in a lather, now. Just thinking about it. Probably not the kind this would-be suitor intended….

*This entire article is so profoundly misguided, misinformed, and misogynistic I had some trouble believing a woman wrote it. Looking at the photo attached to the author’s Bio and seeing a creature that looked decidedly post-operative did nothing to diminish this impression.

Because there’s no greater authority on what a pussy needs, than someone who had to work extra-hard to get theirs.

Thanks, XKCD

My daughter is a freshman in high school.

It is already the end of January.

This day has been going on forever.

I say this, not to receive independent confirmation, but to remind my obstinate self that it is so.






it can be hard to tell the difference

I wonder at myself sometimes and my triggers. Not just the obvious ones, for food, sex, sleep, anger. Lately the triggers that interest me most are the prompts for baseless sentiment. Why is it I should be so moved by the line “Michigan seems like a dream to me now…” I’ve never even been to Michigan. Though it has a compelling attraction in the form of one of my very favorite people, and I will be there in less then a month. 

And yet, every time I hear that song. Every time Paul sings that line, the tears rise and I weep until “we’ve all gone, to look for America”

It is a line referenced in one of the most important pieces of literature in my life. I suppose that adds a certain degree of resonance. In The Waste Lands, as the three Gunslingers from New York muse on their bizarre new circumstances, Eddie mutters the line. And it struck me then. But I suspect I was already under the sway of whatever evocative power the phrase has over me when I read it. Because I remember feeling like a bell was tolling when I let the words sink inside me.

And maybe there is no answer. Maybe my tendency for baseless sentiment is an end unto itself, but I am curious about it nevertheless. And of course I know I’m not alone.

And I am looking forward to Michigan being, indeed, like a dream…


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